Exchange Sacrifice for a Center Pawn


Most chess players are taught the rule of thumb that a Rook is worth 5 pawns versus the 3 pawns assigned to the value of both a Bishop and Knight. These somewhat arbitrary material values for these chess pieces is what makes “sacrificing” a Rook for a minor piece so intriguing. TranquilityLane of the United States, a member of the Internet Chess Club, is fond of playing Lewis McClary’s infamous Moron’s Defense where Black plays the pawn moves d6 and e5 inviting an early Queen exchange where the second players likes his chances in a premature end game.

White, who must have a predilection for the French Defense, gets said defense in reverse by playing Nf3 which invites e4 producing a French Defense in reverse. White has an extra move to attack the rigid pawns placed at c6 d5 e4 and f5.

In the pictured position, White can win a center pawn(d5) after capturing the f6 Horse with the White f1 Rook. Another difficult rule of thumb to interpret is that an exchange sac is usually worth a passed center pawn.

Note that the e4 pawn is under siege also which forces Bishop to f5 protecting the weak center pawn. An effective setup for White appears to be pawn to b3 opening the a3-f8 diagonal. Also the strong steed at d5 guards the weak e3 pawn allowing the c1 Bishop to not be a slave to its protection.

Finally, from the diagrammed position, one might be tempted to to capture the e4 pawn with either Knight(d2 or c3) owing to the fact that the d5 pawn is pinned to King at g8 . However Na5 attacking the pinning b3 queen refutes that tempting tactical continuation!

Exchange Sacrifice for a center pawn with NO damage to opponent's King Side Pawn Structure
Exchange Sacrifice for a center pawn with NO damage to opponent’s King Side Pawn Structure

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